I’ve spent ages thinking about what to write for this episode. Becoming Part 1 and Part 2 are widely considered two of the best episodes in ‘Buffy’, and fittingly we’ve granted this episode an ‘Epic Ep’ accolade. It’s one of the episodes that consistently comes up when we talk about our favourites, especially A, so I wanted to make sure I treat it with respect.
Does Xander have a point? Should Angelus just be killed?
Poor Xander consistently gets lambasted by fans, and sure he’s a bit of an idiot, but hey he’s a teenager, and pretty new to the whole ‘saving the world’ gig. And, lest we forget, he saved Buffy’s life at the end of Season 1. But he also really hates Angel, so I’m not sure his suggestion comes from a completely unbiased place… In my heart I agree with Buffy on this one- why not just try to restore Angelus’ soul anyway, with the backup plan of killing him if it all goes really badly. She’s saving Angel here, but also saving herself. I’m pretty sure that killing your ex is one way to ensure you need counselling for the rest of your life.
I think Angelus is a special kind of evil, as I’ve mentioned before. As we see in the flashback in this episode, Darla certainly saw something in him. And that raises a question because quite often the creation of vampires is described as bringing someone so close to death that they lose their soul so that a demon can ‘set up shop’ in their body. My first question: Is it always the same demon every time Angel loses his soul? Then, is the demon created at the point of death, or is it stepping into the human body from some other dimension? So finally, are Angelus’ actions the work of this demon, or just because he has lost his soul and therefore has no conscience anymore? Basically, is he just a psychopath now? If the demon theory is true, and Angelus is actually inhabited by a particularly evil demon, then I can agree with Buffy- Angel and Angelus are not the same person. But, if it is the latter and he’s just a psychopath, then I’m with Xander because the only reason Angel isn’t evil is because he fears the consequences (i.e. eternal damnation/ getting caught/ guilt) and that makes him quite pathetic. I like to think it’s the demon-theory.
Despite my phsyco-analysis, this episode is really a scene setter for Part 2. It puts all the ducks in row for full impact later on- Willow has found a way to restore Angelus’ soul, Angelus is planning to send Earth to a Hell dimension and the Scoobies are on the outs. In a classic move, Buffy decides she’s the authority on everything demon related and charges into battle without considering anyone else. Like every other time she does this, things do not work out well- of course it’s a trap. Buffy, love, Angelus can read you like a book: “You never learn, do you?” Angelus says…
“Little miss ego. ‘You and me.’ This wasn’t about you. This was never about you. And you fall for it every single time!”
Buffy’s insistence on being the ‘chosen one’, and everything being on her shoulders, means she consistently pushes everyone away when she needs them most. It’s these moments when Buffy gets on my nerves- yes, sometimes she knows best, but a lot of the time she’s just being a selfish bitch.
I should probably mention our scores or something, rather than just rant! This episode scores high across the board, just shy of the fives in each category. A scored a five for plot, which I awarded to script, but it’s sometimes hard to separate them. There’s a lot going on in this episodes between the flashbacks and arguments, but when you step back you realise that all that really happens is that Angelus steals a giant rock and fails to open a hell dimension. Like I say, ducks in a row…
“How about because you’re a tiny, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?” – Cordelia
To be continued…